Type: Trad, Alpine, 1000 ft, Grade III
FA: August 17, 2013
Page Views: 1,784 total · 27/month
Shared By: Richard Rossiter on Aug 18, 2013
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This route ascends the prominent spur or arete on the south side of Chief's Head Peak, almost opposite the Central Rib on the north side. It could have a more inspiring name than "South Spur," but nothing has come to mind. The line is fairly obvious from the southwest. I first noticed it a few years ago from the North Ridge of Isolation Peak.

Hike the Wild Basin Trail to a junction at 4.8 miles, go right to Lion Lake #1 and onward to Snowbank Lake, about 7.5 miles from the trailhead. Continue northwest past the lake, then scramble up moraine to the bottom of the spur. The first 200 feet are quite vertical, so go up and right, and cut back left on a ledge that leads to a cave under a little waterfall. Just left of the cave, climb a short, vertical wall to a higher ledge (5.7). Work up and left to the ridge crest. Climb the crest or right-facing dihedrals on the right for 1000 feet. Obvious cracks lead up a final buttress (5.7) to hiking terrain, about 300 feet southeast of the summit.

This is a good ridge line that holds with other park standards, such as the South Ridge of Pagoda, North Ridge of Spearhead, Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon, Keyhole Ridge on Long's, Ripsaw on Arrowhead, et cetera. That there is no record of prior ascent follows considering the route's deep obscurity and long approach.


Southwest Face of Chiefs Head Peak, the arete goes right up the center to a point just southeast of the summit. It is the left and longer of three ribs, to the right of a large bowl, and to the left of a big ramp that angles up to join the Southeast Ridge.

Descent: hike down the Southeast Ridge until it is obvious to descend an unpleasant scree gully to easy terrain above Lion Lake #1.


Rack up to 2.5 inches. Sorry I am just guessing. The only gear I had were climbing shoes and a chalk bag.